Thursday, June 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Tampa General chief off to strong start

Jim Burkhart is off to a strong start at Tampa General Hospital. In less than a year as president and chief executive, Burkhart has underscored the hospital's mission to the poor; strengthened ties to the University of South Florida, its main academic partner; and carved a new business vision that promises to make the region a healthier and more dynamic place to live. This is good news for an institution that is a lifeline for so many and an economic driver for the entire region.

Burkhart has wasted no time in learning about the area and finding a direction for TGH since arriving in March. He has affirmed the hospital's historic mission as a safety net provider, sketched an ambitious vision for expanding primary care, and created a framework for building new clinical and specialty care facilities aimed at improving health care across a wide swath of Florida.

Balancing the need to grow the business while providing charity care and serving as USF's main teaching hospital is not easy in the evolving health care market. Burkhart's experience at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, another nonprofit affiliated with the University of Florida, gives him a sensitivity for these dueling challenges. He speaks carefully about building on the hospital's 3 percent operating margin, mindful that Tampa General is a nonprofit community provider. And he has calmed area concerns by making clear that the hospital and USF are long-term partners, breaking through an impasse to sign a new three-year medical education affiliation agreement that automatically renews.

Burkhart is also adding detail to the new partnership Tampa General announced with Florida Hospital, part of the Orlando-based Adventist network that operates locally in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties. Tampa General will not abandon its local mission but will team up on new specialty care facilities. Burkhart also wants to make services more accessible by incorporating some outpatient care under a "big box" facility west of downtown.

Burkhart understands Tampa General's strengths and the strong connection the region has to what U.S. News and World Report named last year as Florida's best hospital. The role he sees in providing charity care, an academic environment and specialized services — from organ transplants to burn care — will build the hospital's reputation for excellence. Burkhart has also stepped comfortably into his role as a leading voice for safety net hospitals in Florida, arguing for the state to accept federal money to expand health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. His vision of creating a delivery system to make the community healthier is the right priority for Tampa General. And it promises to strengthen the ties of the hospital in the political and civic fabric of Tampa Bay.

Comments
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18